Famous Exile Clement L. Vallandigham Part 2

About "The Man without a Country" exile Clement L. Vallandigham and his place in United States history.

CLEMENT L. VALLANDIGHAM

(1820-1871). Politician, dissenter, exile.

Two captains in civilian clothes were in the crowd taking notes for Burnside. At 3 A.M. on May 5, Vallandigham was arrested at his home in Dayton by soldiers. He was brought before a military commission on charges of "publicly expressing, in violation of General Order No. 38 . . . his sympathies for those in arms against the Government of the U.S. . . . with the object and purpose of weakening the power of the Government in its efforts to suppress an unlawful rebellion."

After hearing evidence for 2 days, the commission found Vallandigham Guilty and sentenced him to "close confinement" for the duration of the war. In a decision later upheld by the Supreme Court, Federal Judge Humphrey H. Leavitt refused a writ of habeas corpus. Burnside approved the sentence and designated Fort Warren, in Boston harbor, as the place of confinement.

A great uproar followed. Vallandigham argued that he was a martyr for liberty and free speech. President Lincoln was asked both to free Vallandigham and to remove Burnside. In response to the charge that Vallandigham was being prosecuted because he was a Democrat, Lincoln pointed out that General Burnside and Judge Leavitt were also Democrats. "Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts, while I must not touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert?" asked Lincoln. "I think that in such a case to silence the agitator and save the boy is not only constitutional, but withal, a great mercy."

Confining Vallandigham anywhere in the North, however, was not likely to silence him. Lincoln found the answer in the line of General Order No. 38 that promised deportation of enemy sympathizers "into the lines of their friends." On May 19, he changed Vallandigham's sentence to banishment to the Confederacy.

Under a flag of truce, the Ohioan was delivered to a surprised Confederate outpost in Tennessee on May 25, 1863. The next day Gen. Braxton Bragg, the Confederate commander, gave him a passport to travel "as any citizen of the Confederacy" but on May 31 this was picked up and Vallandigham became "a prisoner on parole."

The Confederates didn't know what to do with Vallandigham and gladly allowed him to depart for Canada. He left Wilmington, N.C., on June 17 on a blockade runner for Bermuda, and sailed from there to Halifax. He reached Niagara Falls on July 15, announced that his "convictions as to war and peace" were unchanged and accepted the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio voted him by the party convention while he was in the Confederacy. In order to be closer to the campaign, he moved to Windsor, opposite Detroit.

With the idea of helping defeat Vallandigham in the election in October, Hale conceived "The Man without a Country" and James T. Fields, editor of The Atlantic Monthly agreed to publish it before the election, but the story arrived too late. Vallandigham was defeated by a margin of 101,000 votes and the story appeared in the December Atlantic.

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